Linking Laughter to Technology

The Company

Comedy is serious business. The Second City, referred to by the New York Times as “a Comedy Empire,” is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. The company serves as a launching pad for many of the most influential comedians in the world. Alumni include superstars like Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and many others.

Once a single stage in Chicago, The Second City now has a corporate communications business, media division, 11 full-time touring ensembles, TV and film operations, as well as training centers and theaters in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood.

The Challenge

With multiple lines of business, The Second City’s network requires significant bandwidth, redundancy and uptime to keep business – and laughs – flowing. The Second City uses their network to process customer transactions, sell tickets online and live-stream shows.

On the other side of the stage, directors and students utilize a new online system to review footage and scripts. An expansion to the training center even includes an on-site area for students to access the online database. For the corporate communications business, The Second City offers downloadable videos for training sessions.

The Second City is also a Google Apps house, fully utilizing the Google Apps suite for business operations. With critical applications like Google Apps living in the Cloud, the ability to stay connected became an even more important function of the business.

The Solution

The Second City replaced their wireless service with a fiber connection providing a much-needed increase in bandwidth. By deploying Ecessa PowerLink® in conjunction with the fiber and cable links, The Second City was able to integrate data links, guaranteeing uninterrupted operation in the event of network outages. They can also set parameters to prioritize the various types of traffic over their data links, maximizing quality of service.

“The Ecessa units are so incredibly easy to manage. You set it up, leave it alone and it does its job,” said Dan Wagner, IT Manager, The Second City. “The support has been amazing; extremely knowledgeable people who are always willing to help.”

The Results

Thanks to Ecessa PowerLink’s link integration capabilities, The Second City now has the bandwidth it needs to support its expanding operations and confidence the network will always be available. Ecessa’s automatic link failover and load balancing features provide the reliability and resilience Wagner needed.

“Ecessa is an easy, efficient and inexpensive way to load balance Internet traffic. It ensures network efficiency and Internet connectivity,” said Wagner.

The Second City headquarters remains in the same building as the very first theater in Chicago, which opened in 1959. “The building is old, and we’re expanding. We need equipment that makes our connection reliable,” said Wagner. “Ecessa does that and the interface is simple. It’s a straightforward approach to network management.”

Growing into a complex and diversified entertainment company requires the use of Internet applications, WAN redundancy and support to provide business continuity in our connected world.

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11 full-time touring ensembles


Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood



Cool Fact

Alumni include Tina Fey, John Belushi and Bill Murray


Ecessa Product


“We need equipment that makes our connection reliable. Ecessa does that and the interface is simple. It’s a straightforward approach to network management.”

Dan Wagner,
IT Manager
The Second City